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Start a Colorado Charter Bootcamp

Start a Colorado Charter School: Bootcamp

Interested in starting a charter school in Colorado? The Schools of Choice Unit has put together a variety of resources and contacts to help support new school developers. Although this is not an exhaustive list, these resources could help provide guidance in the initial stages of exploring what is needed to begin the planning process.

 

2022 Charter School Boot Camp

In May 2022, CDE in collaboration with the Colorado League of Charter Schools, held an in-person two day Boot Camp for those interested in starting their own charter school. Below you will find the sessions theme and by topic. 

In addition to the presentations, we also included an "Elevator Pitch" handout/notetaker to guide you through the presentations and help you create an Elevator pitch for your new school. That handout can be found here.  You can also find a link to the event folder and resources here.

 

Day 1

 

Phase 1: Mission & Vision

 

What is your school's mission, vision and values? How are you incorporating your stakeholders and community into the creation of the school? How are you testing your theory of change early and often?

 

Session 1: Setting a Mission and Vision for your School

Session 2: Understanding your Community: Educational & Cultural Landscape

Session 3: Diversity & Equity: Community-Led Framework

Session 4: Piloting Your Theory of Change

Phase 2: Demonstrating Demand / Community Interest

How are you engaging your community in the process of building the school? Where are the conditions right for your intended school?

 

Session 5: Enrollment Considerations for New School Planning

Session 6: Demonstrating Demand: Recruitment and Engagement

 
 

Day 2

Phase 3: Authorizer Relationships

How can you build an effective working relationship with your authorizer? What considerations are important to your specific authorization pathway?

Session 1: Introduction to CACSA & Charter School Authorizing

Session 2: Authorizer Panel

Phase 4: Preparing for Application and Authorization

What are the major components of the charter application process and how can you bring in key stakeholders to support that work? What considerations do you need to have with regards to the business operations of a start-up school? How can you fund this project? What do you need to look for when building a board and considering important early decisions about the school?

2021 Charter School Boot Camp

The 2021 Charter School Boot Camp was held virtually in conjunction with Growing Minds Together, LLC. from June 23rd- June 25th. During this virtual convening, attendees received foundational information, quality resources, and motivation to open a robust and sustainable charter school in Colorado. Please see the resources and recordings from this event below:
 
Plenary Workshops
Workshops
Resources

Crafting Your Mission and Vision

  • New School Workbook: Crafting Your Mission, Vision and School Culture (PDF): You have an idea to start a charter school, but where do you start? Check out this resource developed by Kia Murray at the Colorado League of Charter Schools to help you walk through how to craft the mission and vision of you school and ensuring it aligns with the school culture. 

Writing Your Charter Application

Looking for support in writing your charter application? The Colorado League of Charter Schools can review your charter application prior to submitting it to your district or authorizer. Find out more by visiting their website.

Budgeting

  • Planning Your Operations Budget: 101 Worksheet (PDF): Want to know where to start when thinking about budgeting? Developed by Patti Glock at the Colorado League of Charter Schools, this worksheet will help guide you through a "back of the napkin" exercise to help you understand where to start when budgeting for a new school. 
  • Cost Estimation Toolkit for Charter Schools (PDF)Developed by the National Resource Center on Charter School Finance and Governance, the Cost Estimation Tool linked here was designed to help start-up charter school operators identify and estimate the range of costs and timing of expenditures they will be obligated to cover during start-up and the early years of operation. 

Charter School Waivers

  • Charter School Waivers Requests: The Basics (PDF): Wondering what waivers are and how the apply to charter schools? Review this powerpoint to understand what charter waivers are, what their purpose is, and what the most commonly requested waivers tend to be for charter schools in Colorado. 

School Safety

  • Colorado Schools Safety Act (C.R.S. 22.32.109.1): Updated from the 2019 Colorado Legislative Session, the Colorado Schools Safety Act is highly recommended to review in detail when in the planning stages.  
  • Emergency Planning for Schools Course: This free course is offered by the  Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This course covers basic information about developing, implementing, and maintaining a school Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). This course provides participants with an understanding of the importance of schools having an EOP and basic information on how an EOP is developed, exercised, and maintained.  

School Nutrition

Working With Your Authorizer

A crucial piece of starting a charter school in Colorado is developing a strong relationship with your district authorizer. To learn more about how charter schools in Colorado are authorized, see our FAQ webpage here. Below are initial contacts for several of the larger districts in Colorado. 

Interested in developing in other districts? Reach out to our office (paga_p@cde.state.co.us) to help put you in touch with the right person. 

Colorado Charter Schools Program Grant

The Colorado Charter Schools Program (CCSP) provides a grant and technical assistance for up to 4-years to new and expanding charter schools, which many new school developers apply for to secure funding in their beginning  stages. . The Colorado Department of Education was awarded $55 million to administer annual sub-grant competitions from 2018 through 2023. For more information including the application process and the technical assistance required, see our webpage here